Archive for May, 2012

Memo to Mommy Em

Posted in parenting on May 31, 2012 by gohelpyourself

By Anthony O. Alcantara

A late-night series of marathon meetings with Baby Aria led to an important decision: a memo of appreciation to Mommy Em ought to be issued before the end of Mother’s Month.

While a sumptuous lunch buffet at the brilliantly named Buffet 101 was charged under representation to celebrate Mother’s Day, a memo was still deemed necessary to cap the occasion.

So here is the copy of the memo, so that relatives, friends, and those who enjoy reading office memos may know:


Issued by: Anthony O. Alcantara, CEO, and Ariadne M. Alcantara, COO (Child of Owner)

Date: May 31, 2012

Signature: (Original signed by Anthony Alcantara and hand-marked by Ariadne Alcantara)

Receivers: Relatives, Friends, Memo Aficionados

Commendation and Promotion of Mary Louise M. Alcantara

It is with great pride and honor that we commend Mary Louise M. Alcantara for her outstanding achievements as Mother, a role which she accepted on August 31, 2010.

Her achievements as Mother have eclipsed all other achievements since she danced Binasuan so flawlessly in her elementary days. For that, we are promoting her from Mother and Chief Finance Officer to Mother and Executive Vice President for Finance.

Here is a partial list of her achievements:

  • Endured unimaginable pain during childbirth, no anesthesia
  • Breast-fed Aria despite formidable challenges
  • Nursed Aria in the middle of the night
  • Lost sleep due to frequent feedings of Aria
  • Took care of Daddy and Aria:
    • cooked for them
    • changed diapers (Aria only)
  • Cuddled and kissed Aria to soothe her when in a bad mood
  • Cuddled and kissed Daddy to soothe him when in an equally bad mood
  • Ran after Aria at the playground and most other places
  • Bought and read books about breast-feeding and how to take care of a baby
  • Read children’s books to Aria
  • Sang Der Hölle Rache and other songs to Aria
  • Taught Aria her ABCs (Aria can recite them already, though sometimes she skips letters)
  • Taught Aria how to count from 1 to 20 (going to 30 now)
  • Taught Aria the basic colors
  • Taught Aria the names of things using flashcards… A – Apple, B – Boht (Boat), C – Cat… H – Tigidig-tigidig (which means horse)…
  • Began to teach Aria to read (Daddy helps with this, too. And even if Aria still can’t read, we hope the lessons will stick eventually)
  • Attended La Leche League meetings
  • Promoted breast-feeding to relatives and friends
  • Donated breast milk to strangers
  • Pumped breast milk for Aria
  • Endured Aria’s acrobatics when breast-feeding
  • Bathed Aria
  • Cleaned up after Aria
  • Became a working mom

There are many more. But space is limited. We have seen an increase in revenue as a result of the new job, and reduced costs as a result of breast-feeding and other austerity measures.

Mommy Em’s love and patience have also led to unprecedented growth in our household. Both Aria and Daddy have grown bigger.

For all these achievements, we offer our profuse gratitude and unending love.

We love you, Mommy Em. Mwah.



Secrets of great moms

Posted in miscellaneous, parenting on May 18, 2012 by gohelpyourself

By Anthony O. Alcantara

They must have secrets. Great moms offer blood, sweat, and tears for their children. Even the “blood” is plentiful. All of us, at some point in our lives, threw up on our moms, peed on them, defecated, and farted enough gas to worsen global warming. We drove our moms insane with our crying and whining. We’ve hurt them with our words and deeds.

And yet, our moms are still there, ready to give us a hug, and kiss our hurts goodbye.

So what is their secret to sainthood?

My guess is that they have been abducted by aliens from outer space. These higher life forms looked kindly on us. They thought that our tremendous capacity for stupidity and folly need to be cured, or at least tempered.

So that’s what they did. They kidnapped our mothers and implanted undetectable devices in their brains that allow them to accomplish superhuman feats of kindness, patience, and love.

It has been like that since mankind’s first UFO sightings thousands of years ago. Each mom, just before giving birth, is implanted with the “mom” device.

Many years ago, when I had a fight with my brother and looked into my mom’s eyes, I saw a momentary flicker, a gleam in her eye. Perhaps it was a signal from the device implanted in her brain telling her to be kind to an ill-tempered child. I was saved.

My mom always moved with purpose and dedication. A full-time housewife, she loved to do house chores, cook delicious and nutritious food for us, and iron our clothes.

My mom would be the first one to wake up. Her routines were almost impossible to shake off. Her habits, unshakable. It was the sameness of incredible discipline. She always reminded us to be on time. When we had trips, she would prepare everything well in advance. All we had to do was dress up.

In our family, she was the crucial piece of the puzzle that made the picture complete. She never complained. Her role was to assist us in everything that we do.

Perhaps it was the alien device at work. I wouldn’t know for sure. But alien device or not, there’s a little secret my mom couldn’t hide – her unconditional love for me and my brothers.

I guess it’s the same with most of us. This is just a simple tribute to the greatest mom, Milagros Alcantara, whose little secret I will hold and cherish in my heart forever.


My “Four Fingers”

Posted in health and fitness, miscellaneous on May 11, 2012 by gohelpyourself

I just love my “Four Fingers”.

By Anthony O. Alcantara

“Nice shoes,” said the man in the next urinal as I was about to shake off my thing. I was at theAIMConferenceCenterto attend a panel discussion on K-12 education.

Now I don’t think he was gay and that he was trying to pick me up. But it’s not really an exciting topic of conversation in the toilet. Come to think of it, maybe he noticed how big my feet appeared in my Fila Skele-Toes. And you know what they say about men with big feet.

So I simply said, “Thanks.”

The shoes in question are not really shoes. My Fila Skele-Toes are knockoffs of Five Fingers. For those who haven’t seen Five Fingers, they’re like gloves for your feet. They have thin and flexible rubber soles and Spandex-like material to cover the rest of your feet. Because they are “foot gloves”, you can wiggle your toes freely.

Many thought that my Fila Skele-Toes were Five Fingers, which, at P4,000 to P5,000 a pair, are expensive. A lady doctor in a hospital recently said, “Nice shoes, Sir. Five Fingers.” But I told her that they are actually “Four Fingers”, and that they are much cheaper at less than P2,000 a pair.

And why “Four Fingers”? Well, instead of having five digits, each “foot glove” has only four. The pinky toe and the toe next to it (what do you call them anyway?) only have one opening. But if you look at them, you’d think they have five digits because of the design.

They look ugly. If you compare them with slippers and other shoes, they are aliens. So why would you want these ugly looking things?

For one thing, they are very comfortable. They provide you enough warmth for your feet, and they are oh so light. You can leap in the air while on the street and don’t have to worry about small pieces of rock piercing your feet.

For another, they make you feel stable. You should try running using these ugly things. When I had a treadmill test recently (the doctor found nothing wrong with me, by the way), I felt so stable and free. The traction was excellent. It was like running barefoot but with less of the jarring impact on your feet and knees, and better grip on the ground, or the treadmill in my case.

It felt so natural walking and running with my “Four Fingers”. I felt like a Kenyan marathoner running after a gazelle.

Oh well. If only my office would allow me to wear these things. I’m not an endorser of Fila or Five Fingers, by the way. I’m just a very happy customer.

In the future, I hope our shoes would look and feel more natural, just like my “Four Fingers”. And when that happens, we would be admiring each others’ feet. And you know what they say about people with nice big feet.


Things I learned and did in the hospital

Posted in miscellaneous on May 4, 2012 by gohelpyourself

You can learn things in the hospital, too. (Photo by Robert Linder; taken from

By Anthony O. Alcantara

We were supposed to be in Boracay. I was supposed to be chasing my wife at the beach like a stallion galloping after a coquettish mare. And my baby Aria was supposed to be building and eating sand castles, while her Nonna, her grandma, sipped piña colada under the sun. Sadly, however, some pesky E. coli bacteria decided to take over Aria’s tummy, causing high fever, vomiting, and diarrhea.

A five-day vacation in Boracay turned into a vacation in the hospital. I’m not complaining, though. I always believe that everything that happens is an opportunity for something else.

Anyway, I just wanted to share some things I learned and did:

  1. I learned self-control and patience together with my wife as we waited helplessly for doctors to stick a needle in Aria’s hand for the IV fluids. No one was allowed in the room except the doctors and nurses. Naturally, Aria screamed and cried. Knowing how strong Aria is and how she resists attempts to hold her still, I know that the doctors struggled. My wife said she’d barge in if they’re not finished in five minutes. Fortunately, it didn’t take that long. But it was close. When they opened the door, Aria was in tears, her face contemplating revenge.
  1. I learned how to put on Aria’s shirt while a small tube, connected to a plastic bottle of dextrose IV fluids, protrudes from her hand. It was a challenge, especially since Aria’s shirts have small holes for the arms.
  1. I enjoyed having Aria sit on a small wheelchair and pushing her around the pediatric ward of the hospital. We watched and counted the fish in the aquarium, greeted nurses and doctors in the hallway, and listened to other kids scream as doctors stick needles for IV fluids.
  1. I also amused myself by listening to the endless and repetitive questions of nurses and doctors in training. They barged in our room often. “How many times did baby poop?” “When was the last time she pooped?” “Did she poop today?” “How much milk did baby drink today? Oh, she’s breastfeeding?” “How many times did she breastfeed?” “Is she breastfeeding?”
  1. I also had the privilege to overhear conversations and listen to annoying sounds from the other room, even though we were in a private room. Apparently, there’s a small gap between the edge of the shared wall and the window. It’s perfect for amplifying sounds in the other room. So we endured an old lady singing the theme of SpongeBob Squarepants to her grandchild. We retaliated by laughing loudly at appropriate times.
  1. I enjoyed reading e-books to Aria and showing her flash cards using her iPad. She knows the alphabet already and can count to 20. She does it on her own and at unexpected times. If we ask her to repeat it, she never does. Sometimes, she sleep-talks and recites the alphabet or begins to count. Then she laughs. Weird kid.
  1. I cuddled a lot with baby and mommy. We were in a small private room perfect for cuddling. Better than Boracay indeed.
  1. I learned how to scrutinize the hospital bill carefully. I realized that it’s always a good idea to assume that the nurses and doctors are billing you for things they didn’t give you.
  1. I was surprised to learn that nurses have bad handwriting, too. It’s not only the doctors. Are these people genetically predisposed to this malady? The spelling is terrible, too.
  1. I also learned how to count the drops of IV fluids. Sometimes, the nurses are not careful. They lack sleep. So it’s a good idea to ask them what they are doing exactly.
  1. Of course, I learned to count my blessings again. My daughter Aria and my wife Em are my greatest treasures. There will be another time for Boracay.



This is not Boracay. But there are fishes here, too.